Sardines Boost Immunity and 5 More Things You Need to Know

October 27, 2015

Tips for first-timers on how to enjoy sardines.

Sardines have become increasingly popular as more and more of us realize their incredible nutrient density, overall sustainability and healthfulness.

Sardines are rich in omega-3s, the essential fatty acid needed for optimal brain health, aids in the reduction of inflammation in the body and are also known to reduce the occurrence of cardiovascular disease. Studies have suggested that regular consumption of omega-3s reduces the likelihood of developing Alzheimer’s. As compared with other omega-3 rich foods like salmon, sardines contain more of these essential fatty acids per three ounce serving.

Looking for calcium alternatives? Sardines are a great source of calcium; this is especially true for sardines packed and consumed with their skin and bones. In addition, they are the most naturally rich source of vitamin D. Vitamin D’s main and most well known role in the body is to aid in the absorption and regulation of calcium. Calcium helps maintain healthy strong bones and supports proper functioning of nerves. Research also suggests vitamin D may aid in the reduction and protection from hypertension, cancer, and several autoimmune diseases - by modulating neuromuscular and immune function and helping to reduce inflammation.

Another reason sardines are so healthful is because they are the second most concentrated source of vitamin B12 (next to calf’s liver). B12 supports the production of red blood cells, which aids in the prevention of anemia, allows nerve cells to develop properly, and helps your cells metabolize and use proteins, carbohydrates, and fats. B12 deficiency can lead to depression, memory problems, nervousness and many other symptoms.

According to the Monterey Bay Aquarium Seafood Watch, sardines, specifically the US Pacific wild caught variety, are considered a ‘best choice’ when it comes to sustainability (abundant, well-managed and caught or farmed in environmentally friendly ways). Sardines are extremely low in contaminants such as mercury because they are so small and low on the food chain. 

SupermarketGuru has a few tips for trying sardines for the first time and enjoying them as a regular part of a well balanced diet.

• If it’s your first time trying sardines, a great place to start is with a boneless, skinless variety, packed in water or olive oil. For those concerned with their fat intake, sardines packed in water may be a better choice. Although they may have a strong smell, their flavor is mild, and can be used in recipes in place of canned tuna.

• Sardines serve as a fabulous spread - on a cracker or piece of toast – they also come smoked and packed in sauces like mustard and tomato, which can serve as a great snack, hors d'oeuvre, or even light lunch spread on toast, served on a cucumber, or in a mini lettuce cup.

• Check with your supermarket’s fishmonger, as fresh sardines are great grilled, baked or sautéed.

• Sardines are known as iwashi when prepared for sushi.